DBQ for AP World History
he printing press was transformed by Johann Gutenberg, a German goldsmith, and more than 8 million books were printed in Western Europe between 1456 and 1500. This invention had an effect with the Protestant Reformation. It not only furthered the knowledge of geography, but it also expanded knowledge throughout the countries and whether you were wealthy or poor, printing made books available to the general public.
By 1560, many people were either Catholic, Protestant, or mixed (Doc. 5). Non-Catholic Western European Christians were the followers of Luther. Luther’s goal was to stir debate around the issue of indulgences. He believed that is was wrong how the churches would encourage indulgences onto the people. Written in one of the 95 Theses, if people bought indulgences, then they would be “eternally damned” and because of the printing press, the 95 Theses were known throughout Europe (Doc. 3). Luther would compare criminals to the Popes to get his point across. In document 4, Luther used the word “robbers”.
Robbers steal and he used this word against the popes. The popes were taking money from the people in exchange of an indulgence. Lucas Cranach, a close friend of Luther, made a woodcut to demonstrate not only the comparison between a pope and Jesus, but also how money was a key factor (Doc. 4). Having a point of view from a Catholic German pope in 1521 could give details and evidence of how indulgences were for the better of the people and not for the pope himself.
In 1471, the printing press was not known widely. About thirty years later, the invention spread and along with it was a letter (Doc. 2). Christopher Columbus wrote about his experience of inhabited islands he found in the letter and because of the printing press, his letter spread throughout Western Europe (Doc. 6). He wrote this to keep the king of Spain updated and to let the public know his findings. Columbus was a skilled voyager. He wanted to find new routes and to bring back goods. In 1489, Martellus, a German, was able to create a world map and Columbus was able to improve the map accurately with his travels.
Then almost a hundred years later, Abraham Ortelius, a German, was able to create an accurate world map (Doc. 7). In document 6, it is noted that Columbus was believed to have written most of the letter coming back from America. Having a statement from an eyewitness boarding Christopher’s vessel between 1492 and 1493 could provide a detailed or accurate description on when he wrote the letter.
At first, a scribe would be writing a book by hand from the dictation of a scholar. Then in the mid-1500s, print shops would be built (Doc. 1). Just like the evolving of printing and books, knowledge was expanded and it evolved as well. Isaac Newton was able to use previous knowledge of other scholars to become a mathematician himself. He was able to make the world more understanding by expanding on other philosophers like Galileo (Doc. 10).
And other scientific individuals were able to do that as well. For example, Johannes Kepler described how lenses work and was able to create an astronomical telescope. After him, Robert Hooke was able to use a microscope to further his observations (Doc. 10). Everything was wrote down and because of the printing press, things got to be published. Publishers were able to print books in different languages and this expanded the ancient ideas even more (Doc. 8). When the books were open to the general public, the ideas spread quickly on a grand scale (Doc. 9).
The printing press helped people understand better. It helped Luther spread his opinions throughout Europe and it resulted in Protestant Reformation. Printing furthered geography and it evolved and expanded knowledge. The printing press was able to write things down permanently for all to see and read; now and then.